Pakistan's top militant commanders

Updated July 09, 2015

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Mullah Fazlullah

A Yousufzai from Swat, he took charge as the head of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike in November 2013.

He is currently heading the TTP faction often referred to as “TTP central” in intelligence circles.

He controlled large parts of the Malakand division for nearly three years before escaping to Afghanistan in 2009 following a military operation.

Fazlullah has been the mastermind behind various high profile attacks including the brutal Peshawar school attack as well as the killing of GoC Swat Major General Sanaullah Khan Niazi.

He maintains good relations with the Afghan Taliban.

Affiliated with: Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)


Maulana Asim Umar

The head of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the first Deobandi to lead an Al-Qaeda franchise.

He has studied in Karachi and also taught at seminaries there.

He has authored several books on subjects such as doomsday, the Anti-Christ, and Freemasons, etc.

He is well-connected with various Deobandi and Salafi scholars and enjoys a good reputation in various religious circles.

Affiliated with: Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS)


Sirajuddin Haqqani

Commonly known as “Khalifa Sahib”, he heads what the US refers to as the Haqqani Network, which is in fact a group fighting under the direct command of Mullah Omar.

His fighters are some of the best-trained militants in this region, and have carried out a number of high profile attacks in Afghanistan.

Sirajuddin Haqqani’s step mother is a Yemeni, and he maintains close ties with Al Qaeda.

When questioned about the TTP, he has referred to them as “our brothers”.

He was a close friend of former TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

Affiliated with: Haqqani Network, TTP, Al-Qaeda


Hafiz Saeed Khan Orakzai

He had previously served as a TTP commander in Orakzai Agency.

He parted ways with the TTP and joined Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s “Islamic State” (IS).

In January this year, he was appointed as a representative of IS in Pakistan through an audio announcement Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman of IS.

A report says he was killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion earlier this year.

Affiliated with: TTP, IS


Umar Khalid Khurasani

One of the founding members of the TTP, Umar Khalid Khurasani (also known as 'Abdul Wali') is a poet and former journalist from Mohmand Agency.

Within organisational circles, he is known to be a formidable military commander and was one of the first in the TTP to execute opponents by slitting their throats.

He was the TTP Mohmand Chief and also held the additional charge of the Khyber Agency chapter for a brief period during which he orchestrated a bloody campaign against government-backed lashkars.

He parted ways with “TTP central” and is now the de-facto chief of the splinter group Jamatul Ahrar.

The group has now decided to reunite with TTP central.

Affiliated with: TTP, Jamatul Ahrar


Sheikh Khalid Haqqani

Hailing from the Swabi district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), he is the deputy head of “TTP central” and has also served as its Head of Shura (consultative committee).

A graduate of the Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak, he is held in high esteem within the banned group as a “thoughtful religious scholar and a seasoned military commander”.

He also authored a fatwa against Pakistani media, dividing them into different categories and legitimising the killing of some journalists.

Affiliated with: TTP


Muhammad Khurasani

Also known as Mufti Khalid Balti, he is the current head of media at “TTP central” as well as their official spokesman.

He spent many years in Karachi where he also taught at Jamia-tur-Rasheed. Muhammad Khurasani is fluent in Urdu, Arabic and Balti.

He is well-connected with many of the seminaries across the country and his personality is one of the reasons many students wish to join him in North Waziristan.

Affiliated with: TTP


Ehsanullah Ehsan

Formerly the chief TTP spokesman, he was removed from the post after being accused of trying to sabotage relations with the Afghan Taliban, a charge he has termed baseless.

He is now the spokesman of Jamatul Ahrar.

After the reunification with TTP central, his new role is expected to be announced within the next few days.

Affiliated with: TTP, Jamatul Ahrar


Sheikh Maqbool Orakzai

He was previously known as Shahidullah Shahid and served as the chief spokesman of the TTP under Hakimullah Mehsud and then Mullah Fazlullah.

He parted ways with the TTP and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of IS.

He is a Salafi in orientation and maintains good contacts with Arab fighters.

Affiliated with: TTP, IS


Commander Abdul Jabbar

A close confidante of Mullah Umar, he currently heads Tehreek Ghalba-i-Islam and spends much of his time in Karachi.

His fighters have been actively engaged in Kandahar and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan.

Publicly, he opposes rebellion against the Pakistani state and urges his men to focus on Afghanistan.

Affiliated with: Tehreek Ghalba-i-Islam


Ustad Ahmad Farooq

Also known as Abdullah Farooqi, he was the second-in-command of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and had been the propaganda chief of the group.

The group is now operating as Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

Most of the inner circle of Ustad Ahmad Farooq included university graduates who had previously been associated with Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba (IJT), the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

A powerful orator, he was known to be fluent in Urdu, Arabic, English and Punjabi.

Affiliated with: Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, IJT, JI


Asmatullah Muavia

He has previously headed the “Punjabi Taliban”, an alliance consisting primarily of Punjab based sectarian militants.

Taliban sources claim that a few weeks before the launch of operation Zarb-e-Azb, Muavia surrendered himself at Razmak Fort in North Waziristan and announced that he would restrict his militant activities to Afghanistan.

He released a statement arguing that because of the infighting within the TTP and the changing regional situation, his group will only engage in propagation activities in Pakistan.

Affiliated with: TTP


Khan Saeed

Also known as "Sajna", he leads one of the more influential Mehsud factions of the Taliban.

Based in South Waziristan, he maintains a strong footprint in Karachi.

A number of Mehsud transporters and other businessmen take their disputes to him.

Affiliated with: TTP


Adnan Rasheed

Formerly a technician with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), he was convicted as one of the planners behind an assassination attempt on the then army chief and president Pervez Musharraf.

He was freed by the TTP in an audacious raid on Bannu jail, along with nearly 300 others.

He currently leads the Ansaar-al-Aseer (helpers of prisoners), a unit that focuses on freeing Taliban militants in prison.

Affiliated with: PAF, Ansaar-al-Aseer, TTP


Qazi Hammad

He was the ‘chief justice’ of the TTP.

He is known for addressing internal disputes taken to his court.

Qazi Hammad now part of Jamatul Ahrar.

Affiliated with: Jamatul Ahrar, TTP


Maulana Saleh Qassam

Editor of 'Ihyae Khilafat', Jamatul Ahrar’s monthly magazine.

Affiliated with: Jamatul Ahrar


Mufti Hassan Swati

Former TTP commander who maintains a strong footprint in Peshawar and adjoining areas.

He left the TTP a few months ago and joined Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s IS.

A number of cases had been filed against him at the TTP’s court in Miranshah, accusing him of extortion and intimidating those who had refused to pay.

Affiliated with: TTP, IS


Mangal Bagh

He hails from the Bara area of Khyber agency and is a member of the Afridi tribe.

He took charge of Khyber agency based Lashkar-i-Islam around 2006 from Mufti Munir Shakir and has fought several battles with pro-government tribesmen.

Mangal Bagh has also been involved in the drug trade, running a network in Karachi.

Traditionally his focus has been on territorial control and furthering his business interests.

However, some TTP members claim that his stance is getting increasingly ideological.

His group has now forged a formal alliance with the TTP.

Affiliated with: Lashkar-i-Islam, TTP


Jamatul Ahrar, a former splinter group of the TTP has announced its reunification with the TTP.

Khyber Agency-based Lashkar-i-Islam headed by Mangal Bagh has also decided to merge with the TTP. The three have announced that they will now operate under the name of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Prior to the split, Jamatul Ahrar had largely operated as the Mohmand chapter of the TTP.

According to TTP chief spokesman, Muhammad Khurasani, the group will announce its new structure within the next few days.